CSU gets 68 pianos

Last week's announcement that the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music would become an all-Steinway school was a big one. A gift from the Maxine R. and Jack S. Schiffman Family Foundation allows the Schwob School to buy 68 Steinway pianos. The gift was more than $2.5 million.

In August, the 44 upright pianos and 24 grand pianos will arrive. That should be a sight to see. One of those grand pianos will be a Hamburg Steinway concert grand for Legacy Hall performances.

A vocal student, Carrie Beth Barnett sang “I Love a Piano,” accompanied by Janie Lee Bullock. Violin student Boris Abramov and guitar student Chad Ibison also performed.

After the presentation, Carrie Beth was so excited. She’s headed to Graz, Austria, for the next month or so, studying at an opera program.

I spoke to Earl Coleman, the associate dean for fine and performing arts, and like everyone else, he had a huge smile on his face. He said the students will be so spoiled, rehearsing and playing those instruments that they’ll always remember their days at CSU.

I also spoke to Mrs. Schiffman, who told me that she’d always wanted to do something for the Schwob School.

Well, she did do something. It is an amazing and gracious gift from a very giving family.

McFalls happy with show

When I was writing the story about the Columbus Museum’s new exhibit, the 2008 Columbus Biennial, I had just come back from vacation and was pretty much in a fog. Even though I’d spent the previous week sleeping off the effects of severe jet lag, I was still just bumbling along.

Of the 11 artists who have work in the show, only one is from Columbus. Michael McFalls is an assistant professor of art at Columbus State University.

I wanted to talk to him, but it was after deadline when I got to talk to him.

The show is amazing and his work is the first thing you’ll see when you walk into the gallery.

“It’s a pretty nice show,” McFalls said. “I was pleased with it. The work started years ago at a residency called Sculpture Space.”

He was working with pigmented plaster and he noticed that the plaster left layers just like in rocks.

“It was an accident of pouring plaster,” he said. He uses box molds that he cuts and polishes.

When he was at the University of Maine, he said geologist friends would come and talk about his faux rocks.

Taking these faux rocks, he uses fake grass and plastic toys to create very interesting pieces of art.

McFalls takes contemporary culture that “collides with the sublime.” He wanted to capture the great Western landscapes and combine it with pop culture references.

He said he’s been a part of a few like this one recently and the Columbus Museum’s “is the most well-organized and orchestrated one. The other work is beautiful, too. I’m very pleased. I haven’t been this happy with a show in a long time.”

You’ve got plenty of time to see this show. It closes Sept. 21. The museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

It’s free.

If you have any questions, call 706-748-2562.